New Delhi: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has sought concrete measures against diminishing efficacy of antibiotics which, if it continues, will make bacterial infections such as skin sores and diarrhoea untreatable and fatal.
"Now is the time to turn pledges into action, stake out a clear roadmap and take action to prevent further erosion of our health security. The effectiveness of existing antibiotics is extremely valuable, and we must do all we can to preserve it," said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director for WHO South-East Asia.
According to the WHO, when an antibiotic is used, bacteria that can resist that antibiotic have a greater chance of survival than those that are susceptible.
When antibiotics are used inappropriately -- such as when they are taken needlessly, too regularly or when an incomplete course is taken -- bacterial infections become immune to them, Khetrapal Singh said at a three-day international meeting on 'Combating Antimicrobial Resistance: Public Health Challenge and Priority', here.
Globally 700,000 people die every year as a result of once-treatable health conditions.
Khetrapal Singh urged the South Asian countries to stop the easy availability of antibiotics.
"Governments must take strong measures to stop over-the-counter availability of antibiotics, while strengthening and enforcing legislation to prevent the manufacture, sale and distribution of substandard antibiotics," said Khetrapal Singh.
In 2011, health ministers of all countries in the South Asian region adopted the Jaipur Declaration on Antimicrobial Resistance, which calls for national action plan to combat the problem.